That headline might have served as a teaser to get people to click just a few short years ago. In today’s world, though, technology advances at the speed of light, and a ban on internal combustion engines is a very real possibility.
Granted, it won’t happen overnight, and any such ban would be phased in over many years, but the wheels could already be in motion thanks to the speed at which electric vehicles are being developed.
For proof, all we have to do is look across the Atlantic toward the homeland of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.
Yes, Germany may become the first country to ban the sale of cars with gas-powered engines.
Europe pioneered the way of the diesel engine long before the technology ever took hold in the United States. But the bottom has fallen out of diesel sales here because of Volkswagen’s emission cheating scandal, and now European countries are starting to see a decline as well.
It’s possible that buyers there will naturally make the migration to electric or hydrogen-powered cars, but a new proposal by Germany could speed up the transition to a zero-emission car culture. And once Europe goes down that path, the United States would eventually follow.
Germany isn’t content with relying on financial incentives to usher in an era of pollution-free cars. The country’s Bundesrat (federal council) has passed a resolution calling for a ban on new internal combustion engine cars by 2030. From then on, you’d have to buy a zero-emissions vehicle, whether it’s electric or running on a hydrogen fuel cell. This isn’t legally binding, but the Bundesrat is asking the European Commission to implement the ban across the European Union… and when German regulations tend to shape EU policy, there’s a chance that might happen.
The year 2030 might sound like a long way off, but it’s not, especially considering the development cycle of cars. A full ban by 2030 would probably need to start going into effect by 2020, which is just around the corner.
As electricity and hydrogen continue to be developed into fuels that can power market-ready cars, the worldwide demand for petroleum-based fuels could fall fast.
The one caveat in America is the sheer amount of open space. People won’t need gasoline-powered cars in cities, but they’ll still be required, at least for a while, to take the all-American road trip.
Do you think the internal combustion engine should eventually be banned?